True, school enrollment is declining. True, school districts are merging and thus leaving many buildings unused and unoccupied. But constant financial pressures have forced school districts to put off much-needed (and in some cases, mandated) maintenance and improvements. Tick, tick, tick goes yet another financial time bomb for Vermont state government. But is anyone listening?
"Elected officials have devoted enormous attention in recent years to issues such as school governance, and the cost of delivering classroom instruction. Jeff Francis, head of the Vermont Superintendents Association, said a new financial reckoning is afoot. "Pressures on education funding and spending have manifested themselves in ways that have not led to keeping facilities in the best condition over the years," Francis said. According to an unofficial survey conducted by his organization recently, Vermont school districts are planning or proposing $565 million worth of maintenance and construction projects between now and 2023. Francis said districts have yet to identify a revenue source to cover the expenses.
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